I had a long conversation with someone the other day about the differences between push and pull marketing.  It was a little disappointing, though, because they had already invested a great deal of time and money developing their pull marketing strategies under the assumption that there was no difference between the two types.  Not all was a waste; pull marketing is still highly effective.  It's just not as quick to bring in new customers as he would have liked.

Push Marketing

This is any strategy that results in a direct call to action.  Television advertisements with a "call now" message, in-the-field marketing with fliers directing potential customers to "come to the event today," or even some hosted events that are targeted more towards sales than the event itself are all examples of push marketing.  The idea is to put a hand (the marketing message) behind a prospect and push them to a decision to become a customer.

It can be effective in many areas and for several demographics.  There will always be some products or prospects for which push marketing won't work, though.

Pull Marketing

This is a longer-term strategy of placing something in the market only loosly related to your product and waiting for customers to pick it up and ask you for more information.  Viral, or buzz, marketing is the best example because prospects are actively seeking out product information and are pulled towards a decision to become a customer.

Demographics and products unaffected by push marketing might be more affected by pull marketing.  The unfortunate tradeoff is the vastly longer sales cycle neccessitated by pull strategies.

Blogging is a pull strategy.  Yes, you can throw some Google AdWords around to drive more traffic to your site, but whether or not people actually read, let alone subscribe, to your blog is dependent on two things:

  1. The quality of your content
  2. The length of time it's been available

On the one hand, you can have a stellar blog that's been online for two weeks.  I doubt you'll have much traffic, but give it time and that traffic will grow.  On the other hand, you can have a 4-year old blog with random factoids from your life.  If they're interesting enough, you'll have traffic.  If not, don't count on it.

You can increase traffic by sharing links with similar, albeit higher-traffic, blogs or by exchanging comments with their offers.  Like blogging itself, though, this is a pull strategy and will take several months to actually turn out any sort of results.